How do you become creative?

Creativity is an essential ability to succeed in life. Many people take training programs,read books, or travel to new places to gain creative ideas. People like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim-the founders of Youtube-  are the icons of inspiration because their outside-the-box ideas have literally changed and shaped the world. And there are yet so many people whose innovative thinking are effecting and leading today’s society.

So how can we as Christians, who are created after the image of God, become creative? If we are made in the likeness of the Creator who had planned out and constructed the whole universe, then aren’t we to be creative after His creativeness? Where do we turn to find the creative ideas?

TAC defines creativity as “discovery of the creation of God”. In Genesis chapters 1-3, we find that Man is created in the likeness of God, and God is the Creator of all things. This means that every single invention ever made in the past, being made in the present time, or to be made in the future, are all in fact the works of God’s creation and we are just discovering what has already been created by Him in the beginning of time. And TAC tells us to turn to the Bible, the Word of God, to seek creativity.

Jesus and many other biblical figures were always creative and did things that were extraordinary and different. Jesus performed so many miracles and did things that no one else would ever do, such as submitting to crucifixion without a sin. And every person of faith in the Bible did something extraordinary and new, while following God’s commands; Moses, David, Joseph, Jacob, Peter, to name a few.

Through the Bible, God gives us innumerable role models and examples to follow. And when we follow them, we gain pieces of wisdom that God has in store for us, including His creativity.

When we read the Bible, we can actually see the sources of inspiration and ideas for some of the inventions that people have made. Take technology for an instance. Who says computers are wholly new inventions of the twenty century? Computers, tablets, and smartphones are all constructed in the likeness of the Book of Life which visualizes each person’s life on earth. Or the parable of the talents shows the fundamental principle of how talents (abilities, wealth, etc) are multiplied or destructed.

The Bible is the word of God who has created the universe and the book indeed contains all things. I am in no way encouraging anyone to use the Bible as a means to merely gain ideas for personal and secular success. Bible is the book of Truth and it contains all wisdom. It tells us the right way to do in everything.

God tells us to cherish and read the Bible all the time in Deuteronomy 11. When we live by His words and keep studying the Words, we will learn of God’s wisdom and creativity.

God has created us after His image and has granted us His blessings to multiply, prosper, and dominate the world. Read the Bible to gain knowledge and wisdom about the world. When we keep His Words and live by them, then God will open our eyes and allow us to see the ways of His work.

 “But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did.” -Deuteronomy 11:7

K.P.

What is Your Action?

Have you taken any high school-level science courses before? If you have done so, then you may have heard about Isaac Newton—the most influential figures of all time, especially in many fields of science. Newton’s most famous achievements include the laws of motion, universal gravitation, and calculus.

In physics, classical mechanics, sometimes also called as Newtonian physics, is concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. Of Newton’s achievements, the study of motion of bodies becomes one of the largest subjects in science. The law of motion proposed by Newton in his outstanding work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica are comprised of three parts:

  • Law I: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force (Law of Inertia).
  • Law II: The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass (F = ma).
  • Law III: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body (F1 = – F2).

Among the above three laws of motion, we should give a careful attention to the third law, which is well-known as the law of action reaction. It says when an object exerts a force to another object, then the latter exerts the force that is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. We can generalize this law: To every action, there is always a consequence following it.

If one’s action is to stand on the ground, the ground exerts the force that is equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction. The heavier you are, the greater force is exerted by the ground to the person. This cause and effect relationship is not only found in our daily lives, but in the Bible through the parables of Jesus Christ. Because Newton’s law of action reaction is considered as a universal law in science, this can be applied to anywhere—to even our daily lives and spiritual lives. Every action we perform leads to something in our lives.

planting_seeds

Jesus tells His disciples about the story of seed to emphasize the importance of having a good mind. He said: “one seed fell by the road…[…]…some seed fell on rocky gound…[…]…some other seed fell among thorny weeds…[…]…some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop” (Matthew 13:1-9). At the end, He said “Let those with ears use them and listen.”

The seed that Jesus talks in the Bible is the Words of God while the places where the seeds are planted are our minds. The Bible explains the people with a good mind as those of who have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the mind sets that are not innately born with, but can be educated through the power of Holy Spirit. If we want to have a desired consequences (reactions) in our lives, then the proper actions should be done on our part. If we say we truly love Jesus, then we have to make sacrifices.

Try to make time out of your busy schedules to worship God. Try to put efforts for studying God’s words. Try to speak with God through the prayer. And, you will be able to listen for God’s Spirit, as Jesus asked said in the Bible. The key to success is putting your efforts. For every action, there is a reaction following it. Your effort will lead to your success in your spiritual life!

– T.S.

Be the Salt and Light of the World

“You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16)”

A title is a word added to someone’s name, signifying the person’s official position and sometimes socio/economic status in a society, also known as Socioeconomic Status. Although some titles are hereditary, meaning inherited from parents, most titles we have seen nowadays are given by society where the people belong to. Furthermore, sometimes those titles reveal one’s achievement in his/her life.

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For instance, J.D. (Doctor of Jurisprudence) and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) are professional doctorate degrees or titles that are extremely competitive to achieve. The primary purpose of giving such titles to a person was to celebrate one’s achievement in his/her life. Today, however, many people live their lives to achieve that titles; this change in Value caused many problems in the modern society as well as in Christian community.

Christian is a title given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we notice ourselves that forget about the primary purpose of being a Christian. In the Bible, Christians are depicted as those who are “the salt and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). The commonality between the salt and light is that they are essential for the world to exist.

Why does the Bible describe Christians as being the salt and the light? If we think about it, both the salt and light are important to humans and, thus, Christians must influence others as the “salt and light.” Although the universal importance of salt is not as readily apparent in our modern society, the mandate that Jesus gave to his first 12 disciples is still relevant and applicable to Christians today.

Our lives are to be an on-going witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. When we worship God with pure hearts as salt and when we love others as ourselves, we are the light shining—however we should realize that the light shining is not from us, but from Jesus Christ Himself that people will see in us, Christians.

 – T.S

What the Passover Teaches Us

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

                                                                                             -Deuteronomy 16:1-

The Passover is well-known (to the gentiles) as a Jewish festival commemorating God’s freeing of Israelites from Egyptian enslavement. It seems odd to write a blog post about a Jewish holiday, but Reverend Goshen Choi has given us a wonderful message on what it means to overcome hardships and become successful with the help of our Lord with this seemingly obscure passage in Deuteronomy.

According to Rev. Choi, there are four things we must do to overcome hardships with success in the eyes of God:

1. Always live by the Word of God

As Christians, we must always live by the Word of God and by nothing else. His words are the truth that we must strive to live by.

2. God works at Night

Traditionally, people work during the day and rest during the night. But in the scripture above, it says that God has brought His People out of Egypt by night. As such, there are several other indications in the Holy Bible to suggest that God likes to work during that particular time. Though the word “night” should be understood as it is in the context of the Holy Scripture, it can also be interpreted in different ways, and one of the ways that Rev. Choi has analyzed the scripture was that God prefers to work during the most darkest times of our lives, that time of our life when we just cannot trust our abilities and give up to go on, as we do when we face the night in our work. That is the precise time in which our Lord begins to work his miracles on His People. Therefore, Rev. Choi urges the people to surrender themselves to the Lord early in their lives and careers, to admit that they are facing the night of their lives and need the Lord to start his work.

Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

                                                                                        -Deuteronomy 16:3-

 

3. The Bread of Affliction is our time to be trained

In Deuteronomy 16: 3, God tells His people to eat the “no leavened bread” during the time of Passover. He further calls this bread “the bread of affliction.” While this idea of “no leavened bread” should be understood as it is, Rev. Choi has interpreted the concept of “no leavened bread” as the “bread of affliction” that contains none of one’s thoughts and egos when it is baked. Unleavened bread does not contain any yeasts, and God calls this bread the “bread of affliction” to have the Israelites remember that it was the Lord who has led them out of Egypt.

Rev. Choi tells us that no one is free from this bread of affliction. We all encounter a time of trial and tribulation at some point in our lives. When that time happens, God wants us to eat this unleavened bread of affliction; he wants us to chew it well and digest it properly. We need to have the same attitude about our own problems; we should accept this suffering with happiness and transform it into a time of training for our better selves in the eyes of the Lord. Rev. Choi has told us to not despair and be afraid that we are toiling with no end at sight. He told us to cherish this time by learning and training from its hardship, as God has commanded the Israelites to eat the bread of affliction to never forget that it was the Lord who has freed them from the shackles of Egypt. Let us strive each day to accept this bread of affliction with open arms and embrace its hardships to learn from it!

4. Always remember who you were before meeting God

Rev. Choi has told us that we must first remember the kind of person we were before accepting Jesus in our lives, and thank the Lord for leading us to His ways. Humans are prone to forget, and this forgetfulness is what drives our ego and causes us to be arrogant. If we can just remember who we used to be before receiving the Lord’s Grace, we are much less likely to commit the sin of denouncing the Lord’s miracles and announcing our greatness. As God wanted Israelite to eat the unleavened bread to never forget that it was His work that lead them out of Egypt, He also wants us to never forget the grace we’ve received from Him.

Of course, all these are much easier said than done. Let us all pray and strive to become true Achievers with these four qualities!

A.K. 

 

* Reverend Goshen Choi is the founder and the president of Nyskc World Mission Center. Nyskc World Mission Center was founded in 1993 with the purpose of establishing a global organization devoted to the restoration of worship and churches. Their motto is “When the Worship is restored, the church is risen, the nation renewed and the family revived!”

Grit: A Secret to Success

For past few decades, many believed that our children’s future success and potentialities were depending on the measure of their IQs (Intellectual Quotient). However, recent researches have proved that success was not simply a matter of intelligence or talent. Success had more to do with ability to persist in the face of obstacles and to stick with the same one goal. The recent scientific terms described this kind of personality trait: grit. This characteristic can be described as endurance in terms of TAC ideology.

“Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99% perspiration,” is a well-known quote by Thomas Edison. He had told us, about seven decades ago, that genius is the one who endures obstacle and overcome barriers to accomplish their goals. However, we have focused too much on one’s talent and intelligence when it comes to “success.” It is because the talent and intelligence were an exposed phenomenon whereas their perspiration and grits were hidden characteristic behind that big phenomenon. For example, Newton’s discovery of gravity seems like a sudden epiphany. An apple fell on top of his head and that explained whole ideas of gravity and orbits of the moon and beyond. In fact, Newton had studied and thought about gravity for a long time. He went through tedious and painstaking work. It is well known that he filled his notebooks with scribbles of equations and spent months to find the exact moment of a pendulum. This shows that his discovery of gravity was not an instinct insight.

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Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at University of Pennsylvania is a pioneer of the study of Grit. She conducted a study based on the fifth graders in New York City Public School. She divided fifth graders into two groups A and B. She assigned an age-appropriated version of IQ test to both group. Then, she praised group A for their intelligence whereas group B was praised for their effort. She assigned them the second test, which was an upper grade level. There were different reactions in both groups. Group A were discouraged from doing the difficult problems, on the other hand, group B worked hard to finish the test. Then, they were given the third exam that was the same level as the first exam, and group A’s exam average decreased by 20% and whereas group B increased by 30%. This experiment clearly shows how efforts and endurance is the crucial maker of success.

Through this study, we realize the importance of stressing one’s qualitative value rather than quantitative value. When Group A was praised for their quantitative values like their grades and smartness, they became discouraged when they faced an obstacle. They refused to struggle through it. However, group B were able to struggle and endure because they were stressed on efforts they made. The researcher tried to convey that our mindset grow when we endure and go through a struggle. However, fixed minded people are those consider quantitative value as the most important trait and they give up when they meet an obstacle.

 

“And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” (Roman 5:3-4)

Jesus Christ exemplified endurance for us. He suffered from the cross and endured all the pain to achieve one goal: to save us.  At the end of all the obstacles and tribulations, He was glorified and elevated to heaven. He showed us the secret to success—Girt, the power to endure.

References:

Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Self-discipline gives girls the edge: Gender in self-discipline, grades, and achievement test scores. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 198-208.

Lehrer, Jonah. “The truth about grit.” Boston Globe 02 Aug 2009.

S.Kim

The Gift of Sparkle

Have you ever met a person who has kindled a sparkle in you and changed the way you’ve thought and lived your life?  We often say we are inspired by successful people but to actually be moved by someone and let your life be changed is, I say, a miracle.

Well, lucky for me, TAC was that igniter which opened my eyes to see the true meaning  in life and success. It still drives me everyday to live as fully as possible as a Christian. I am ever so grateful and indebted to TAC for igniting passion and hope for my future in Christ.

With that being said, I want to introduce a person who has brought sparkles to many young children’s lives. He is a world famous educator and the founder of a prestigious pedagogic method, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Many of you may have heard of his Talent Education School or the well-known Suzuki Method for music instruments but the fundamental basis of his pedagogy is emphasized on nurturing Characters.

Dr. Suzuki’s belief in the power of love has actualized many impossible dreams  including a blind child to see the violin, strings, and bow. That child, after one year of genuine and arduous practices,  performed Seitz Concerto at the age of six. Dr. Suzuki’s tales, including his own, narrate many success stories of world famous performers and educators.

What has touched me most was  his fundamental idea that a talent is not determined at birth but is nurtured and brought forth by ceaseless effort and love. He says shortcomings or weak points in children (and adults) shouldn’t be blamed on “character” or “nature” but should be corrected and brought to the points of excellence through arduous training.

Under this principle Dr. Suzuki believes that all kinds of talents and superior abilities can be developed, especially for the younger children. The key evidence for this theory is that all children  speak their mother tongue languages without a difficulty and likewise a talent can be developed if placed in an appropriate environment.

He says that the way to produce superior ability is to concentrate on something and devote oneself to doing it. Quoting his words, “The reason that we chatter freely in Japanese (he’s Japanese) is that we use it daily; it is the same with jumping over the hemp every day from the time it appears. It is a matter of ‘Ease comes with training.’ We simply have to train and educate our ability, that is to say, do the thing over and over again until it feels natural, simple, and easy. That is the secret.”

His focus isn’t placed in attaining superior outcomes, but he esteems the quality of life and character prior to the materialistic outcomes of such training. Children shouldn’t just practice to produce excellent performing skills, but they are to first love and respect music, people, and life. They are encouraged to set purposes and visions that are beyond physical successes.

A lot of what Dr. Suzuki says resonate with TAC thoughts and I am ever so grateful for these priceless lessons that have changed and have formulated the path I now walk. I’ll end today’s blog with another inspirational passage from Dr. Suzuki’s book “Nurtured by Love” and I hope this will inspire a positive change in your life too.

“…You will one day realize that it is the greatest and best blessing on earth to come in contact with men of high humanism, who also through their art have a pure, noble soul. And whatever you can absorb of his greatness and beauty of character will determine your worth as a person. However, to perceive and grasp these qualities requires the humility and judgment that come only through sincerity, love, and knowledge…However wonderful the other person may be, it depends on us alone, whether we have the capacity to absorb their greatness. One has to educate oneself from within the benefit from the greatness of others. Only if one can do this can one fully realize the joy of being near someone who is great. Never lose your humility, for pride obscures the power to perceive truth and greatness. Please, by all means, don’t forget this.” 

K.P.

To learn more about Dr. Suzuki or his method, please refer to the following resources:

Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education http://www.amazon.com/Nurtured-Love-Classic-Approach-Education/dp/0874875846

Ability Development from Age Zero (Suzuki Method International) http://www.amazon.com/Ability-Development-Suzuki-Method-International/dp/0874875803/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Suzuki Association of the Americas http://suzukiassociation.org/teachers/twinkler/

What is True Success?

Early on this year, the professional cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his career in the interview that was conducted by Oprah Winfrey. We all witnessed the tragic fall of the cycling hero of our time, as he was banned from cycling for life and stripped away of all the competitive awards that he won since 1998. He has lost more than his medals; he has lost his reputation and prestige as an athlete. Now the name “Lance Armstrong” is associated with dishonesty and cheating.

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But this is not a rare sight. From time to time, there would be stories of some politician, some businessman, or some sportsman falling from his/her grace by being involved in a scandal. Whether that is by being caught having an affair with a mistress or constructing a grand scheme designed to con people, it is only after such exposure that their hard-built public images plummet tragically. These men have all the things which constitute—in the eyes of the mass—a successful person. They are the beacons of our society, admired and respected by their peers and the people alike.

We are always surprised and flabbergasted when a person like Lance Armstrong is convicted of some shameful act; we always have that moment of doubt whether the scandal is true, before we come into terms with who they really are and ask ourselves the question, “why?” Why would they do such a thing?

Reverend Goshen Choi* once wrote an essay that can be roughly translated as “On things that are more important than success.” He, too, remarked at the falls of great public figures and rich business tycoons, using their tragedy to tell us of the great truth about success.

One of many things that he wrote on the qualities of a “true achiever” is the importance of being over doing.

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” –Matthew 7:17

Just like the Bible verse above, Pastor Choi wrote that being a good person will yield great fruits instead of the other way around. Too many people strive to achieve things and make those accomplishments a testament to what great people they are. The reverend further wrote that it is more important to first be honest, truthful, and humble; to have true faith and live by the Words of God before setting out to achieve fame and wealth. That is the way to achieve success that is truly grounded and can survive the test of time. All the achievers mentioned above have failed to do so, fixating on the awards so much that they would go out of their ways to claim the trophy.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” 

Aristotle

Likewise, success is a habit. That is why TAC strives to habitually live in accordance with the eight characters that make up the word “ACHIEVER.” These Acronyms are:

A: Attitude

C: Creativity

H: Humility

I: Intellect

E: Endurance

V: Vitality

E: Evangelism

R: Reformation & Recovery

Thus, TAC promotes a unique concept of success, where the word “success” is not defined in secular terms. Sure, it’s great to achieve fame and wealth, but that is not our priority. We strive to succeed for the glory of God and further spread his name; we wish to create a global network of like-minded achievers who will also share our vision of evangelism. Through our success we hope to ultimately reform the Christian image that has been tainted throughout the years, and glorify the Name of God. As we are but a mere human being, we can’t help but be imperfect. That is why we strive and work harder every day to live by these eight characteristics that we define to be “true achievers.” God bless us all!

– A.K.

* Reverend Goshen Choi is the founder and the president of Nyskc World Mission Center. Nyskc World Mission Center was founded in 1993 with the purpose of establishing a global organization devoted to the restoration of worship and churches. Their motto is “When the Worship is restored, the church is risen, the nation renewed and the family revived!”